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Draft Week: What Is Your Favorite Draft and League Format?

Cam talks about his leagues and the different formats!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 23: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees points to the dugout after hitting his third home run of the game against the Washington Nationals at Yankee Stadium on August 23, 2023 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Two drafts down, one to go…every year I get into anywhere from three to six leagues. In my younger days when I had more disposable time I’d draft any league that came my way, often well in double digits. However, I found that quantity would often cause the quality to suffer.

My rationale was that the more drafts I did the better I’d be…practice, practice, practice. I’d enter every format, snake drafts and auctions, mixed and only leagues, and re-drafts and keeper leagues.

I’ve pared down to two keeper leagues, an AL and NL-only league. The third this season is a re-draft 12-team mixed auction. Two of the leagues are online and one is in person. It is my longest-running league, which was created in 1997…I joined in 2004. It’s the 10-team AL-only league, and we’ve had the same core of seven players for over a decade with a few newbies here and there.

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If you’re like me you prioritize your leagues. I prioritize that league the most for a couple of reasons. First, because it is my longest-standing league with friends I’ve known since high school. And, because it is the league with the most money on the line, aside from bragging rights a decent amount of money is at stake. And finally, because it is live. We’ve had people fly in from as far as Alaska to play in the league, and I can count on one hand the amount of times someone has needed a proxy to draft…this league is serious business.

Finishing my second draft online on Thursday, I realized that no matter how hard I try I cannot maintain the same intensity or focus as I do in a live draft. I realize they are not always feasible or even realistic in some cases, but if you can, always push for a live draft.

Aside from losing focus, the technology can be glitchy which can cost you a player. Also, depending on the website, the format can be wonky that it gets confusing. For instance, this week, my two drafts were on Fantrax and CBS SPORTS. The money breakdown on CBS was straightforward; it factored in the reserve players and wouldn’t allow you to spend above your budget, leaving you with at least $10 for the 10 reserve picks. Fantrax didn’t do that, so invariably, people overspent…(your’s truly), and now have to spend FAAB money to fill out my bench.

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And decide the type of league you are best suited for. One of my drafts this week was a keeper league, and the other was a re-draft. Aside from realizing I much prefer the continuity of a keeper league, the draft tends to be much shorter. In a 12-team mixed re-draft, 276 players need to be drafted, followed by five or 10 reserve picks. In an auction that allows you to keep 10 or 12 players, you’re drafting half as many players which cuts down the time dramatically. If it is a live draft, it’s not as important, because you’ll be in a room with friends, busting chops, so the time is almost irrelevant…but a re-draft, sitting in front of a computer for at least four hours can be a bit tedious.

That said, I’ve had a really solid week so far in my two drafts, hopefully, tomorrow will be the trifecta…but, it’s the draft I have the most work to do. It’s my AL-only keeper league. We can keep up to 13 players, but I only kept six. I have two closers, LeClerq and Estevez, an Ace in Gausman, and a legitimate top-10 AL bat, in Semien. But I go into the draft with less money to spend than some of my competitors, with some major lumber available.

Bobby Witt, Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Yordan Alvarez, Bo Bichette, and Jose Altuve are all available…and at best I’ll be able to snag one of them.

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If you’ve already drafted, I hope it went well. If your draft is on the horizon, I wish you the best…keep your head, relax, and roll with the punches. Take deep breaths, and remember, no draft is perfect. Every one of your competitors will make a mistake too. Enjoy the day.